Air India has made it mandatory for its pilots and cabin crew members to verify and confirm that their pre-flight COVID-19 test results are negative before operating an aircraft, according to an official communication issued hours after the Delhi flight incident. -Moscow involving A pilot on Saturday.
An Air India flight from Delhi to Moscow with no passengers on board was asked to return halfway on Saturday after its ground staff realized that one of the plane’s pilots had tested positive for coronavirus, but The team assigned him the task after supervision by a team. verify the pre-flight medical reports of the crew.
“The airline is conducting the COVID-19 test at considerable cost, with considerable effort. As this is a recent procedure and there is a shortage of staff in the office, there is a possibility of oversight in this matter,” he said. Captain RS Sandhu, Executive Director (Operations), Air India in a circular, which has been accessed by PTI.
“The test is primarily designed to mitigate the risk of transmission between the crew. The staff who will be responsible for the tests and the crew roster will do everything possible to ensure that the reports are verified before the crew is listed for a flight”. declared in the circular.
However, it is imperative that the individual crew member also verify and reconfirm his test result, Sandhu said.
“In case of any oversight in this matter, there are not only avoidable adverse operating problems, which tarnish the image of the airline, but also the irresponsible exposure of a crew member to this disease,” Sandhu said.
“Therefore, it is mandatory that each individual crew member verify and confirm the result of a ‘negative’ report, before embarking on a flight. Any laxity in this matter will be dealt with severely,” he added.
About the incident on Saturday, two high-ranking bureaucrats said there was a “gap” by officials responsible for examining crew members’ coronavirus test reports and that aviation regulator DGCA had already begun an investigation. on the case based on a preliminary report from the airline.
The Airbus A320 plane left at around 7.15 am on Saturday morning for Moscow to bring back a group of Indians stranded under the evacuation mission of Vande Bharat and returned to Delhi at 12.30 pm on orders from the authorities, they said. the functionaries.
They said airline officials charged with examining the crew’s medical reports did not look at the pilot’s test results correctly before assigning duty.
According to standard operating procedures, pilots and other crew members on any flight must undergo mandatory coronavirus testing and be assigned tasks if laboratory results are negative.
The plane with the registration number VT-EXR was in Uzbekistan airspace when told to return. All crew members, including the Delhi-based pilot with coronavirus infection, were quarantined after arriving in Delhi, officials said:
“In this case, airline officials did not look at the pilot’s test results adequately and deemed him fit to fly, assuming he is COVID-19 negative, even when the test results indicated otherwise,” he said. a DGCA official.
In a statement, Air India had said Saturday that it immediately retired the plane when one of the cabin crew was found to have tested positive for the COVID-19 pre-flight test.
“Immediately after landing, all cabin and cabin crews have been tested and all established medical precautions have been taken to ensure their health and safety. Another aircraft took off today to operate the Vande Bharat flight from Moscow to Delhi,” Air said. India.